If there’s one thing experts agree on, it’s that we should eat more vegetables. But sometimes it’s hard to come up with a new, interesting, and easy dish. And salad bars are not always an example of food safety.
Eat Smart Vegetable Salad Kits in Sweet Kale and Ginger Bok Choy to the rescue.
Eat Smart Sweet Kale Vegetable Salad Kit
Eat Smart’s Sweet Kale Vegetable Salad Kit “contains 7 superfoods,” as the label says. That would be broccoli, brussels sprouts, green cabbage, kale, chicory, dried cranberries, and roasted pumpkin seeds.
Your job: toss with the packet of poppyseed dressing and serve. And enjoy.
The mild sweetness of the dressing is a perfect complement to the sharper-flavored veggies. And these salad kits don’t contain just any vegetables. You’re talking nutrient-rich leafy greens and their cruciferous cousins.
Each 3 oz. serving of dressed salad (about 1 cup) has 150 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 70 percent of a day’s vitamin C, and 20 percent of a day’s vitamin A. Sodium? Just 150 milligrams.
Taylor Farms Sweet Kale Chopped Salad is virtually identical.
Eat Smart Ginger Bok Choy Vegetable Salad Kit
For variety, try Eat Smart’s Ginger Bok Choy Vegetable Salad Kit—sugar snap peas, carrots, napa cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, red cabbage, and peanuts with a ginger sesame dressing. Mmm.
Okay, there’s no guarantee that either salad kit’s “superfoods” will ward off illness. But they are super nutritious and super delish.
Who said it’s hard to eat more veggies?
Going beyond the salad kit
Nutrition experts love to talk about “dark leafy greens,” which deliver so many nutrients—vitamins A, C, and K, folate, calcium, magnesium, and iron—for so few calories.
But spinach is as close as many people get to dark leafy greens, and some never get beyond romaine lettuce. Yet kale, collards, and others are right there in the produce section. Many people pass them by, not sure how to pick, clean, cook, or store them. No more.
Grocery stores sell packages of pre-cut, pre-washed collards, kale, and other dark leafy greens in handy plastic bags, just like salad kits. There’s no dirt to wash off or fibrous stems to hack away. Just heat and eat.
Try sautéing them in a little olive oil and fresh garlic. Or add fresh ginger, some reduced-sodium soy sauce, and a few drops of sesame oil. Cooking time: four minutes, max.
Just remember that greens cook down to about a quarter of their raw volume. And keep them out of aluminum pots or pans, which can turn them brown.
Washed and bagged salads made salad-eaters out of people who never fixed their own. Maybe washed and bagged greens can do the same for kale and other dark leafy greens.
Why should you eat more salad and greens?
Green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale may lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
British researchers pooled the results of four studies that followed a total of 177,000 people (mostly women) for 5 to 23 years.
Overall, those who averaged 1 1∕3 servings of green leafy vegetables a day were 14 percent less likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than those who averaged only one serving every five days.
It’s not clear if greens prevent diabetes or if it’s just that healthy people eat more greens and have a lower risk of diabetes. Either way, why not have a salad tonight?
A tip for consuming bagged lettuce and greens
If you buy bagged salad kits or greens that come washed, don’t rewash them; you may expose them to potentially harmful bacteria that could be lurking in your sink.
To find where Eat Smart salad kits are sold near you, visit eatsmartsalads.com or call them at (800) 626-2746.
Source: BMJ 341: c4229, 2010.
This post was originally published in 2014 and is updated regularly.